Wednesday of Epiphany II – Psalm 139:1-10

1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.

Some time ago, Elon Musk, the billionaire behind Tesla and SpaceX, is advising you to ditch What’s App and move to Signal. If you have missed that bit of news or have no idea what is going on with it, he was concerned about privacy. What’s App is a tool some folks use to communicate with each other which recently changed its policy on how it uses the information it gathers from its users. I am utterly unqualified to offer any informed advice on which application you should use. I find it interesting that this is almost entirely driven by concerns for privacy.

This psalm might raise some privacy concerns too. Does the God App which runs on the operating system of your life have access to your data? The psalmist stands in awe of what God knows about him. God apparently knows him better than he does. Before he even has a thought, God knows it. God hems him in, behind and before. It is just too much for the psalmist. Is it too much for us too?

I remember being on a youth retreat some years ago and not being able to find one of the members of the group. We eventually located her, sitting alone behind a building, just sitting. She needed a break from the intensity of the group. She sought a place to escape for a few moments by herself. The psalmist can find no such place. If he goes to the sky, God is there. If he jumps in a submarine and goes to the depths of the sea, God is there. He can go around the world and never be free of God’s presence.

Does that make you uncomfortable? Perhaps it should. God has rather high standards for his people, and we do not measure up to them. There is no sin which is hidden from Him. At the same time, most of us are not afraid of this and for a good reason. Unlike technology companies, God is not profiting from our information. He has taken up this presence in our lives because he loves us that much. Have no fear, it is with the same love that impelled Jesus to cross that God comes into your life. He is there to forgive your sins and comfort you when afraid. He is there to heal and help. When you sin and feel the bite of guilt, he will not lie to you and say that all is fine when it is not fine. What is more, He will not reject you for what you have done. With arms thrown wide on a cross He embraces sinners just like you. No matter where this psalm found you today, His hand is leading you and His right hand is holding you. Rejoice in that.

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